Spring Fly Fishing

Drum and White bass moving in around Stl. March 22, 2011

A nice freshwater drum i caught on a crayfish fly while fly fishing

It was shaping up to be a lousy day.  The wind was strong, I was 10 min from the car when i noticed i’d forgotten to put on my “mud” shoes, and it was starting to rain.  Oh yeah, the fish weren’t biting either.  I had a bite about two weeks ago but no bites since.  I decided to head back to the car, at least i would get out of the rain and perhaps call it a day.  Once I got back to the car something told me to put my “mud” shoes on a keep fishing, and that’s what I did.  I tied on a small bait-fish with rabbit wing…fleshy little guy, and tossed him up current, letting him ride down towards me while still stripping just a little.  Bam! got a little white bass about 5 inches long, first fish to hand 2011!  They’re in the creek now!  no more bites so i moved up stream and tried a  stainless weedless crayfish fly, the same fly that seems to catche every fish in my part of the world.

Weedless Crayfish fly for fly fishing to carp catfish bass drum trout bluegillA good fly!

I fished the fly up and down stream, the current in that part is really slow.  After sinking close to the bottom i would start a very very slow retrieve.  Just dragging the line over my finger ever so slowly.  waiting to see or feel the fly touch bottom or get hit by a fish.  In either case it is imperative to check the “snag” by continuing to add pressure to the line…if its a stone on bottom the fly will usually release quickly or just tap the rock.  if its a fish…as you add pressure to the line nothing “releases” ..add more pressure, set the hook.  you’ve either snagged bottom or you’ve got a fish.   I use this method because sometimes immediately setting the hook when the fly taps something will defeat the weed-guard and you will loose a lot of flies to the bottom, also, that’s where you are trying to fish!   I Get a lot of drum and other fish by dragging/tapping bottom, often with a crayfish, it seems that either the sound of the fly on the bottom, or the mud stirred up greatly add to the number of bites i get, and thats what proceeded to happen over the next couple of hours.  Lots of drum and one more white bass.  I love fishing

a creek in st. louis, missouri that represents a fly fishing opportunityHome waters

Common Carp Fishing 101

a carp i caught on a crayfish fly while fly fishing in a north st. louis creekIts Spring and things are starting to heat up.  Soon the Carp will be in the shallows looking for food and mates.  If your looking for a rewarding challenge, set out to first find and then catch these magnificent fish.  The Carp is considered one of freshwater fly fishing’s greatest challenges.  Not only are the fish large and powerful, but also intelligent and spooky.  If you want to catch these Golden Beauties you’re going to have to find them first.

With all this in mind, use your knowledge of the area first.  Have you ever seen carp anywhere close to home?  Do some web searches and see if you can gather any information that way.  Often, urban anglers will have state managed waters close to home.  Check out your local Department of Conservation or Fish and Wildlife web site.  You should be able to find information about your local lakes and rivers there.   Another good thing to do is join an online fishing forum relating to your geographic location or specific interests.  This is a good way to find hard to get information.  I use ozarkanglers.com and warmfly.com.  Your local fly and or bait shop is another possibility for getting some good information.   Don’t be afraid of chatting in bait fishing forums as well, they can also give valuable information on where to find the fish.   Finally, get on google maps and start looking for bodies of water near you.  I like to find places to fish other people don’t know about or aren’t interested in.   In St. louis, MO we have 3 rivers close to home, the Missouri, Mississippi, and Meramec rivers.  For the most part these rivers aren’t suited to kayaking or wading, so I look for any side lakes, large creeks, or small rivers feeding into them that i can access.  Google is a great tool for finding unknown waters and parking close to home. Do some exploring, its half the fun.

Once you’ve figured out were you think you might find some carp its time to get your gear together.  A pair of polarized glasses are going to be as important as your rod.  If you want to catch carp you gotta see carp!   Your ability to spot the fish before it spots or senses you is critical.  If you forget your glasses…u might want to turn around and get them because carp fishing without them is pointless.  Once you’ve got those, grab your rod…whatever you’ve got.   Ilike a 7 or 8 wt for horsing big fish in tight places, but i could use my 3 wt as well if needed.   Go with what you got.  Tie on some heavy tippet. I like 20lb flourocarbon with my 8wt.   Tie on a small weighted crayfish, preferably weedless size 4, 6, or 8.  A small clouser style lead eye nymph or leech in green, brown, or black will also work (I like brown crayfish size 4-8 best) .  Make sure to use 15-20lb test tippet.  This can vary up or down depending on your rod/leader and other conditions but where i fish 20lb flourocarbon is the way to go.  Try and use a loop knot to attach your fly, it will give a better action to the fly in the water.   A perfection loop seems to work best with flourocarbon.

Now you’ve got the gear set up and at least 4-5 good weedless flies in your pack, its time to hit the water.  Your looking for feeding fish.  Carp can be easily spotted in shallow water  close to the edges of the body of water your fishing, or shallow mudflats in back bays.  You are looking for disturbances to the surface of the water which give the fish’s location away, often at long distances.  You may see the carps tail out of the water with his nose down in the mud, this is known as a tailing carp.  Many times you can locate a school of carp by seeing mud coming off the bottom as they feed.  You may also see a carp so shallow that his head or back breaks the surface.  Other times you may walk up on a fish and then see it there in front of you, in this case, the fish probably already knows somethings up and your lucky he’s still there, it won’t take much to send him off now.  Once you’ve spotted the fish you need to get as close but not too close.  Generally you want to get no closer than you need to in order to get a cast within 1 or 2ft of its head.  You will have to work all that out yourself with practice.  Sometimes the fish won’t even let you get within casting range, it all depends or your circumstances.  Assuming you’ve made a good cast, quickly bring up any slack while you watch the carp react.  If the fly was 1.5 ft from it head he’s probably already got it in his mouth.  strip 2 small 2 inch strips(like a crayfish would scurry). If all went as planned you set the hook on your first strip or second little stip of the fly.  if not pause and strip strip again. continue that 3 or four times if you think the fish is still following.  If you can still see the fish you can cast again.  These fish catch on pretty quick. The idea is for them to hear the fly land close but not so close its scary, and if you can place the fly only where the fish can hear but not see the fly land…that’s good.  if you cast the fly where he can see it land…that’s a little scary for him, try and place it a little further ahead of the fish in that case.  You will learn to use the force in time young jedi.  Remember to keep an eye on the fish.  Learn to read its body language and to feel for the fish by using slow small strips.   Many times its a feel thing, you gotta feel for the fish cus you can’t always see whats going on.  Other times, if your lucky, you may have a crystal clear view of the fish approaching your fly on the bottom and doing a headstand on it.  When he does that, the fly is in his mouth, tighten up.  You’ve got a carp!

Fuji SiC guides vs Stainless

About 3 years ago I started to fish a creek that lies in the Missouri river flood plain.  After several months of fishing i began to notice guide wear similar to what you can see below.  By the end of the year several of the guides were 85-90% worn through.  I told the guy at the fly shop that sage was going to repair of replace the rod.  He thought maybe i should go out in the lot and step on it first just in case.  Just as i was told by Sage over the phone, they did replace the rod for the 50$ charge. Not a bad deal!  Thank God for warranties right?  Well, when the rod came back all new I got a new line and tried to keep it clean, but there’s no keeping line clean the way i fish…all up in the mud and such.  Within 2 months my guides were wearing through again!!!!   Unbelievable!  That’s when i wised up and figured out what i needed to do.  Build a rod with Fuji SiC guides.  Long story short…I love the new guides. Sand or mud on the line just acts as lubrication.  Now, instead of replacing a rod and a line, I can just replace the line.  Fuji guides are so nice.  When i fish my other rods, i find myself wishing they were SiC.  Even if you dont fish in the mud…you will be amazed at how much smother these guides are.  Id estimate at least 20-30% reduction in friction, nothing to scoff at.   I’ve been fishing the rod hard for over a year and the guides are still in perfect condition.

This is how my new SAGE RPL Xi guides looked 2 months later.

Fly rod damage from muddy conditions good reason to get fuji SiC rod guides

Fly rod damage from muddy conditions good reason to get fuji SiC rod guides

Below a Fuji SiC guide

Fly rod damage from muddy conditions good reason to get fuji SiC rod guidesBeautiful!

Working Working Working…..

Carp. ..Carp flies… get some….coming soon

2 Responses to 'Spring Fly Fishing'

  1. tawk ling says:

    could you give me guys the picture on the same exectly address please!…thanks alot

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